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Going Beyond Your Job Description

A difference exists between doing a job, and doing your Duty.

What would the world look like if we believed meeting the standard was not enough? Some people expect raises or bonuses when they meet the standard. But should they? I happen to believe standards are the minimum. When someone believes meeting the minimum means they deserve extra recognition, it is clear they do not understand the concept of Duty.

Doing “just enough” will likely let you keep your job another week, but I would urge you to not expect anything more than that. If we barely do what everyone expects us to do, why would they ever give us the increased responsibility which comes with an increase in pay?

Who would you choose to give a raise to?

Candidate A:

An individual contributor who does exactly what he is asked to do. He waits for direction before moving forward. He sees an issue as someone else’s responsibility to fix. He waits because no one has trained him how to do more. He works when he is expected to work. However, if a project becomes too difficult for him, he knows how to explain the deadline away or pose reasons why the project still needs more work.

Candidate B:

An individual who is never satisfied with the minimum. She doesn’t wait for someone to tell her what to do. She steps forward and does what needs to be done. She isn’t concerned about whose job it is. She just knows it needs attention. If she does not know how to do it herself, she finds someone who can teach her. Or, she seeks to learn via a variety of sources she stays connected to. She works hard because she wants to be sure that when she starts a project, she finishes it and it was executed well.

Between Candidate A and B, it is not a hard choice, is it? The first person did his job. The second person did her Duty. She went beyond expectations which were spelled out for her and took action based on her moral obligations. Someone who follows her example will always grow, challenge the status quo and inspire others to follow them.

Dig Deep Questions:

  • What is your moral obligation to yourself, your team and your family?

  • Do you feel a moral obligation to set an example of work ethic and going beyond the minimum? If so, what motivates you to do so?


Taking responsibility and exercising Duty is a lifelong journey for not only you, but your team. We want to partner with you as you make Duty part of your organizational culture. When it comes to remembering the definition of Duty, let us help to make it easy to keep it visible.

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